school bus fear

The School Bus Blues
A Puppet Play to Help Kids Get Over the Fear of Riding the School Bus
©2000 Claire Scholz

This mini play is to help kids get over their fear of riding the school bus and to teach school bus safety. We used Sudsy Dog as our main character. However, you can use any puppet you wish.

This play was written for one narrator and one puppeteer. It can be performed by one person doing both parts.

This mini play is just a template. Be sure to insert your own instructions that uniquely apply to your child's situation. If you want to involve your child in the play, by all means do it! Puppets love improv.

You will need two props: a little school bus (make this with your child) and a black piece of paper 2" wider than the bus on all sided. Click on the links for instructions on how to make them.

School Bus Blues
Act I

Sudsy: (moving about frantically) Oh dear--oh me, oh my--It's just a matter of minutes, er days, er weeks until we have to go to school. (looks at the narrator) And do you know what that means? (trembles) That means (trembles more) I have to (whispers) ride the school bus. I can't do it. It will be filled with total strangers. They will probably try to hurt me. What if I get off at the wrong school? What if the bus driver yells at me and kicks me off the bus and I fall down a man hole and get eaten by alligators? What then? What then, huh? Oh dear, oh me, oh my, I just can't do it!

Narrator: (looks at the child) Do you think we should try to help Sudsy? (after positive response) Let's go make a school bus. (for school bus instructions go to Lets Make a School Bus)

Sudsy: (looks at the school bus thoroughly) What is this thing? It looks like a milk carton with yellow construction paper on it.

Narrator: It's a little school bus Sudsy.

Sudsy: (trembles) I don't like school buses--even little ones that look like milk cartons covered with yellow construction paper on them.

Narrator: We are going to use this little milk carton, er school bus to show you that School Buses aren't that scary.

Sudsy: Yeah, right.

Narrator: One of the reasons a lot of kids (looks at Sudsy) and puppets are so scared of School Buses is because they don't know what to expect. You just don't know what is inside. (Sudsy nods) Well guess what, inside are a lot of other kids who feel the same way.

Sudsy: No sir! They all are on there just waiting to bite me. (trembles) I don't like school buses--not one little bit.

Narrator: Really Sudsy--it's true. A lot of those kids are just as frightened as you.

Sudsy: Okay, okay go on.

Narrator: Another reason kids get scared is because they are going away from home. Sometimes a long, long way from home. They are afraid something might happen to them and no one will know.

Sudsy: Yeah, like all the kids biting you.

Narrator: Sudsy--look at this little school bus. See that little tiny driver in there? (Sudsy looks and looks, finally nods) Well he has a little tiny radio in there. If anything goes wrong he can call his bus office and they will get help right away. They will call your mom or dad or your best friend here (looks at the child). So you aren't so far away from home as you might think.

Sudsy: So if everyone bites me and I am bleeding and crying, that little bus driver is going to help me?

Narrator: You bet. Which brings me to another point Sudsy. If anyone does bite you or say bad things to you or tries to tug on your ears (tug on one of Sudsy's ears)

Sudsy: Stop it! That hurts!

Narrator: If anyone does anything to hurt you Sudsy. Tell the bus driver, your teacher or your parents. They will only be able to help you if they know there is a problem.

Sudsy: (leans down to the little school bus and yells) Hey you driver in there, someone is tugging on my ears and it hurts.

Narrator: There you go Sudsy. Are you beginning to feel a little bit better? (Sudsy nods) Good.

Ask your child what else could make Sudsy scared. You might find out some of the child's inner school bus fears. Have Sudsy react to each one--if Sudsy is funny the child will keep talking. This session could get down right silly, and that's fine. Just keep it fun.

Act II

(cut a piece of black construction that is 2" wider than the bus on all four sides. Put the bus in the middle. Also find an action figure, a lego guy or a wad of paper {put some eyes on it} that is about the right size to be a rider on the bus)

Sudsy: (looks at the bus) Look! The bus has its own magic carpet. Now that would be fun, a School Bus that could fly (starts whooshing about) We could fly to the zoo and to the ice cream store and then--

Narrator: (catches Sudsy mid flight) No Sudsy, that is not a magic carpet (Sudsy looks disappointed) it is the buses "Safety Zone".

Sudsy: Are you telling me that the bus is scared too? (goes over to the bus) It's okay little bus, I will protect you.

Narrator: No Sudsy, the bus isn't afraid. It's big and it's powerful.

Sudsy: (looks at the bus again) Hardly! (gives it a push with his nose) Take THAT, oh great and powerful bus!

Narrator: (puts bus back on black paper) Sudsy, if you were as small as one of those kids in there it would seems a lot bigger. This black piece of paper is to show you all of the places you shouldn't be if you are near the bus.

Sudsy: Oh yeah, how am I supposed to get on then, jump? (jumps to the top of the bus)

Narrator: (gently grabs Sudsy and sets him outside of the black paper space.) Sudsy! When you get on and when you are to get off you can be in the space. But only then.

Sudsy: So what is so scary about the black space anyway?

Narrator: Well, that is where the bus driver can't see you. Or where you could get hurt if the bus started to roll.

Sudsy: And this is the person who says School Buses aren't scary.

Narrator: They aren't if you follow the rules.

Sudsy: Rules, schmules.

Narrator: The rules are there to make the bus safe--not scary, if you get my drift.

Sudsy: Okay, okay.

Narrator: Here are a few more bus rules: Get to the bus stop 5 minutes before the pick up time. If you are running to catch the bus...

Sudsy: I'm late, I'm late for a very important date. (runs about frantically while repeating the line, finally he runs into the bus and knocks it over) Ooops.

Narrator: See Sudsy, when you are running, accidents can happen. (picks the bus up and puts it back). Another rule is to obey the driver. When the driver asks you to do something or to stop doing something obey him just like you would your parents.

Sudsy: Yeah, well what if he or she is reeeeeeeeally mean?

Narrator: Most bus drivers are very nice. But if your driver is mean to you, tell your parents or your teacher. They can talk to the school for your. Now, lets talk about getting off the bus.

Sudsy: I'm free, I'm free! I'm off the bus yahoo! (runs into the bus again).

Narrator: Calm down Sudsy! (sets the bus back on the black paper) (use the little prop guy mentioned at the beginning of Act II) See this little kid here? (depending on what you are using Sudsy could make some off the cuff comments) When this child gets off the bus, s/he should go straight to the sidewalk. (use the kid prop to illustrate) If s/he has to cross the street, s/he should get well ahead of the bus. The bus driver will tell him/her when it is safe to cross.

Sudsy: Then I get to go home, right? Oh, I never knew home was so great. Bye you old bus. (sighs) I'll see you tomorrow. (exits)

To further help your child learn about School Bus Safety contact your local school bus provider and ask if they are teaching children how to ride?

There are some great web sites that will help you show your child proper bus safety. Try: M & O Bus Lines You can rate your school bus program at: Ntln Colalition for School Bus Safety


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